MFBF asks for Congressional votes in favor of Federal Water Protection Act
The Montana Farm Bureau is urging its elected officials to vote for S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. The state’s largest agricultural organization remains committed to working for legislation that will require an honest and transparent rulemaking to define “Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS).”
“We support passing the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S.1140), which the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved. This legislation does not amend or narrow the Clean Water Act, nor does it write the WOTUS regulations for the agencies, but it requires the agencies to withdraw the current WOTUS rule,” noted Montana Farm Bureau President Bob Hanson. “It requires the agencies to re-propose a WOTUS rule based on limiting principles established by Congress and requires the agencies to comply with all regulatory safeguards.”
Hanson points out, “The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers final rulemaking on Waters of the U.S. has failed to create a workable, balanced regulation and extends federal jurisdiction to previously unregulated areas. We find it appalling that despite the thousands and thousands of letters written to the EPA expressing concerns, that agency has completely ignored those viewpoints and is obtusely forging ahead.”
Hanson states emphatically that there is no need to expand the WOTUS rule because Montana’s Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (DNRC) are already doing a sufficient job of protecting our water resources. Water is an essential resource for farmers and ranchers and they are proactive in protecting and improving such a valuable resource.
Fergus County Farm Bureau member and rancher Scott Seilstad voiced strong opposition to WOTUS when he viewed a map that showed how the EPA would have control over his private land. “I am alarmed at what the EPA is identifying as ‘tributaries’ including ephemeral streams that might run a few days a year if you get extensive snow melt,” said Seilstad . “Areas we put in buffer strips to prevent erosion now will be considered regulated waterways. This is the way the federal government plans to keep expanding its jurisdiction over our land. It’s very disturbing.”
Hanson said, “We appreciate that Senator Steve Daines has signed on as a co-sponsor of S. 1140. We urge Senator Jon Tester to express his support for Montana’s farmers and ranchers and come out in favor of for S. 1140. This rule needs to be withdrawn and re-proposed following appropriate federal-state consultation and other due process guarantees. Steamrolling over everyone who has voiced their dismay with these out-of-control rules is plain wrong. Our Congressmen need to let these government agencies know that overreach will not be tolerated.”
If the WOTUS rule is not withdrawn, it will go into effect August 28, 2015.
Source: Montana Farm Bureau Federation